Bollywood’s Blockbuster 2019: Revenues rise 11% as small gets bigger

Asmita Dey

It may have been partly due to the 'Lipstick effect' - consumers spending on small items rather than making big-ticket purchases in times of gloom - but 2019 was a blockbuster year for India's film market. Revenues for filmed entertainment rose to Rs 19,400 crore - a jump of 11% over the previous year. Box office collections, Vahishta Unwalla at CARE Ratings reckons, were around Rs 5,600 crore, but she points out this excludes a large chunk of films, especially from regional cinema, for which data is difficult to come by. Another industry estimate puts the collections at over Rs 10,000 crore.

Filmed entertainment, however, accounted for a slightly smaller share of the media and entertainment space at 10.3% in 2019, down from 10.5% in 2018. But the good news is that Bollywood is becoming a lot more democratic with the reign of the Khans having come to an end.

These days it's the small-budget films made with lesser-known actors and good storylines that are the top-grossers. The number of films that entered the Rs 100-crore club jumped to 17 in 2019, reflecting the talent of directors who work with small budgets but are able to deliver hits; a film like Uri, for instance, raked in Rs 244 crore on a budget of just Rs 44 crore. In 2018, mid-sized movies Stree, Raazi and Badhaai Ho, all made more than Rs 100 crore.

Indeed, the number of Rs 100-crore grossers has more than doubled in the last five years. Not just that, many more films today are hitting the Rs 100-crore mark within 10 days of their release. In general, box office collections have grown at a compounded 13.4% in the last five years, starting CY2015, CARE writes.

If collections are growing, it's partly due to higher ticket prices. The average ticket price (ATP) at Inox rose to Rs 197 in the six months to September 2019 from Rs 164 in FY15. At PVR , the ATP increased to over Rs 200 in H1FY20 from Rs 178 in FY15.

"Given that a sizeable share of the population has a limited amount to spend on entertainment, people are becoming selective," Rakesh Jariwala, partner at EY, said, adding that this is the reason content-led movies are doing increasingly well.